Judge dismisses Brewer's case against feds

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX -- A federal judge Friday dismissed Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's lawsuit that accuses the Obama administration of failing to enforce immigration laws or maintain control of her state's border with Mexico.

The dismissal by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton comes in a counter-lawsuit filed by Brewer as part of the Justice Department's challenge to Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law.

The Republican governor was seeking a court order that would require the federal government to take extra steps, such as more border fencing, to protect Arizona until the border is controlled.

Her attorneys argued that her lawsuit was necessary to help bring relief to Arizona from the burdens of being a busy illegal entry point into the country.

The governor's lawsuit didn't seek a lump-sum award, but rather asked for policy changes in the way the federal government reimburses states for the costs of jailing illegal immigrants who are convicted of state crimes. Such changes would have given the state more money.

Justice Department lawyers, who asked the judge to throw out the lawsuit, argued that federal court isn't the right place to consider the political questions raised by Brewer.

They also contended that several claims by the governor should be thrown out because a court rejected similar legal claims in a 1994 case brought by Arizona, and an appeals court decision prohibits Brewer from moving forward with her case.

The Justice Department sued the state of Arizona last year in a bid to invalidate Arizona's immigration enforcement law. Bolton put key parts of the law on hold, such as a provision requiring police, while enforcing other laws, to question a person's immigration status if officers had "reasonable suspicion" the person was in the country illegally.

Brewer has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her appeal of Bolton's ruling.